The Aukey 30,000 mAh Power Bank review: Emphasis on “Power”

I have a pretty long history with Aukey as a smartphone accessory maker. I also have a habit of heading out on the random road trip or weekend camping, which can at times tax my power requirements. So when I picked up the Aukey 30,000 mAh power bank, I knew things were about to get interesting. I mean, just look at that number – 30,000 mAh. Anything that powerful should come with a hardhat. But it turns out that 30k mAh of juice can be had, in a hefty, but full featured package.

The Aukey PB-T11 Power Bank is a pretty big brick of a battery. As we’ve learned about battery technology – it has stayed remarkably consistent for quite some time now. Lots more juice requires a bigger package. The hard plastic case measures 5.9 x 3.3 x 1.1 inches, which is nothing to sneeze at, but does fit comfortably in my backpack, schlepping to and from the day job. Weighing in at a little more than a pound, you’ll notice this extra baggage.

The entire power brick is black with a power button on top, two USB type A outputs on the front, along with two charging ports on the front – one lightning, and one Micro-USB. This is important later, so take note. One of the outputs is orange and the other is green. The orange USB port supports Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0. Green does not. Now here’s where things take a small turn for the weird.

Included in the box of the Power Bank is a short, 3 inch long USB Type-C cable. This makes sense since most devices are shipping with USB Type-C these days. When I asked Aukey about this, I was advised that since most mobile devices that support Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 are USB Type-C, that’s the cable they ship with the device. Then my question is – how do you charge the power bank?

I don’t want to get too philosophical in this review, but it does beg the question or whether accessories should ship with micro USB cables or not. Conventional wisdom might say that most people probably have at least one micro USB or lightning cable around somewhere, so they should be able to charge the brick. But I’m much more the proponent of the “better to have it and not need it” philosophy. But maybe that’s just me. Regardless, this seems like a justifiable, but weird-as-heck situation, so we’re just going to run with that puppy.

I’m happy to report that the Power Bank lasts just as long as you would expect it to. Charging a Huawei Honor 8 and Nexus 6P, nightly got me through about 5-7 days during testing. Charging the Power bank was a pretty consistent 14 – 15 hours. Not a typo. There’s a lot of juice in this pack, and it takes its time topping off, believe me. Best to think ahead when packing this power brick for a weekend camping trip.

As for user interface, the solitary button on top of the device tells you everything you need to know. A single press of the power button gets the juice flowing. Like just about every other power bank, this one sports an LED light that also switches on and off with a long press of the lone power button. The color of the light on the button will tell you how much is left in the pack – White means full, Green means you’re between 30%-50%, and red means you’re getting low. However, considering 30% is still larger than most powerbanks I’ve ever owned, you’re still in good shape for another day or two.

And really, that’s what this power brick is all about. This isn’t for the commuter. This isn’t meant to be carried in a backpack to and from the office downtown – not unless you’re going to top off literally everyone in your train car. At first, we were reluctant to even mention the dimensions and weight. It’s large, and heavy, but it’s 30,000 freaking mAh of battery for under $50. It’s almost a surprised that it isn’t bigger.

At the end of the day, it’s all about expectations. Batteries of this size are meant to be used when no other power is around – for days. And the fact that you can camp for nearly a week and still keep playing Clash Royale for an entire clan chest event is the kind of thing that makes us happy. This certainly will add some weight to your backpack/suitcase. But it also adds a certain amount of freedom that isn’t all that common today. Staying connected even while away from the grid is important, and Aukey recognizes that in a big way.

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